Mexicana’s demise has minimal impact on Mexican traffic; almost 30 new international routes starting this winter

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?* – it’s from San Jose! Alaska Airlines began flying from San Jose, California to San Jose del Cabo on 4 December. Now that Mexico has been upgraded back to FAA Category 1, US airlines can again codeshare with Mexican carriers, who also are able to launch new services to the US. (*1968 Burt Bacharach song performed by Dionne Warwick)

So what has been the impact on the Mexican market of the collapse of Mexicana back at the end of August? On the basis of traffic figures from DGAC in Mexico, the answer would appear to be surprisingly little. Between June and August, domestic traffic was up around 3% on a year-on-year basis. In September, traffic was down 2% and in October less than 1%. Considering that for much of 2010, Mexicana and its affiliates MexicanaClick and MexicanaLink had a combined market share of almost 30%, this relatively modest fall in demand is surprising.

Source: DGAC Mexico

Source: DGAC Mexico

Even if total demand did not change as much as expected, individual airlines have seen a significant change in their domestic market share. Aeromexico appears to be the biggest winner. From having a 30% share of the market in June (when combined with Aeromexico Connect), its combined share has risen sharply to just over 45% in both September and October.

Source: DGAC Mexico

Source: DGAC Mexico

Among the three major LCCs (Interjet, vivaaerobus and Volaris), Interjet has made the biggest market share gains, growing from 13% in June to more than 20% in both September and October. Volaris’ share has grown from around 14% in June to 17% in October, while vivaaerobus has grown only marginally from 9% in June to 10% in October.

Virgin America latest US carrier to enter Mexican market

Mexicana’s demise has been felt rather more in the international market. Although demand was still up year-on-year in both September and October, it was at a much slower rate than compared with last year. However, some of 2010’s figures are distorted by the swine flu outbreak in 2009. If this year’s data is compared with 2008, the underlying trend (demand down about 5%) remains virtually unchanged despite Mexicana’s disappearance.

Source: DGAC Mexico

Source: DGAC Mexico

Some of the international services to/from Mexico that have already started (or will soon) are summarised in the table below.

Date Airline From To WF
31 Oct 10 Continental Los Angeles (LAX) Leon/Guanajuato (BJX) 7
3 Nov 10 British Airways London Gatwick (LGW) Cancun (CUN) 2
7 Nov 10 Air Canada Vancouver (YVR) Mexico City (MEX) 7
12 Nov 10 Alaska Airlines San Diego (SAN) Puerto Vallarta (PVR) 7
20 Nov 10 AeroMexico Guadalajara (GDL) Ontario (ONT) 7
1 Dec 10 AeroMexico Monterrey (MTY) Miami (MIA) 7
4 Dec 10 Alaska Airlines San Jose (SJC) San Jose del Cabo (SJD) 3
11 Dec 10 WestJet Quebec City (QBC) Cancun (CUN) 1
15 Dec 10 AeroMexico Mexico City (MEX) Denver (DEN) 3
15 Dec 10 AeroMexico Mexico City (MEX) Montreal (YUL) 7
16 Dec 10 Alaska Airlines Sacramento (SMF) Guadalajara (GDL) 3
16 Dec 10 American Airlines Chicago O’Hare (ORD) Mexico City (MEX) 7
16 Dec 10 Frontier St Louis (STL) Puerto Vallarta (PVR) 1
16 Dec 10 Virgin America San Francisco (SFO) San Jose del Cabo (SJD) 5
18 Dec 10 Frontier Milwaukee (MKE) Cancun (CUN) 2
22 Dec 10 Sun Country Lansing (LAN) Cancun (CUN) 4
23 Dec 10 Air Canada Montreal (YUL) Cozumel (CZM) 1
15 Jan 11 Frontier Denver (DEN) Ixtapa (ZIH) 1
19 Jan 11 Virgin America Los Angeles (LAX) Cancun (CUN) 5
20 Jan 11 Virgin America San Francisco (SFO) Cancun (CUN) 3
10 Feb 11 American Airlines Dallas/Ft Worth (DFW) Veracruz (VER) 7
10 Feb 11 American Airlines Dallas/Ft Worth (DFW) Queretaro (QRO) 7
19 Feb 11 Delta Austin (AUS) Cancun (CUN) 1
19 Feb 11 Delta Columbus (CMH) Cancun (CUN) 1
19 Feb 11 Delta San Antonio (SAT) Cancun (CUN) 1
19 Feb 11 Delta Tampa (TPA) Cancun (CUN) 1
3 Mar 11 Aerolineas Argentinas Buenos Aires (EZE) Mexico City (MEX) 4
Source: new route database

With the notable exception of British Airways’ recently started new London Gatwick to Cancun service and Aerolineas Argentinas’ service from Buenos Aires starting in March, all other international services are to/from either Canada or the US.

Virgin America will be the newest US carrier to head across the border when it starts serving Los Cabos later this month, followed by Cancun early in 2011. This marks the carrier’s second international market, having earlier this year started serving Toronto in Canada.


  1. jim says:

    Nice article but you left out new CUN service from AUS, SAT and RDU by CO and expanded frequencies from ORD by UA and new DEN service by UA to Mexico

    • Thank you for pointing out the three new weekly Continental routes. We have put them into our database and will report on them as they launch in February next year. However, we don’t report on frequency changes and we are not aware of any new Mexican UA route out of DEN.

  2. Greetings from Aeromar. I am the VP Network Planning for Mexico’s most experienced regional airline with > 100 daily ops at MEX. I am surprised you decided to leave us out of your study about life after Mexicana, especially as far as the domestic market is concerned.
    We are indeed a comparatively smaller carrier but nontheless your study is incomplete by having left us out completely out of the picture.
    If we were so irrelevant CO would not have wanted to code share with us, for example, this agreement is coming up shortly beginning of 2011.
    Just wanted to make sure next time you look at Mexican aviation you keep us in mind.
    Congrats for a great publication which I enjoy reading week in and week out.
    Best regards.

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